Alberta, Canada — Work to protect the Lake Louise townsite from forest fires is expected to be completed by mid-January, even though the Banff National Park village hasn’t seen a major wildfire in more than a century.
Crews overseen by Parks Canada have been removing and thinning trees since March 2005, concerned that global warming, human use of the area and an abundance of mature forest could fuel a fire.
“We’re expecting some sort of wildfire around the community of Lake Louise,” said park warden Lee Smith.
Workers have already trimmed and removed trees in the village, as well as reducing the forest density and underbrush around local businesses and by the resort hotel Chateau Lake Louise.
Now the focus is on clearing stretches of nearby forest to create natural fire breaks, as well as selectively removing and trimming trees in dense patches, said Smith.
“In some places we have clear-cut mainly in that species type where it’s that thick lodge pole pine actually giving a good break in the landscape. And then over in our spruce areas, where there’s dominant spruce trees, we’ve been thinning it out, breaking up the tree crown the tops of the trees.”
Smith said some of the cut down trees will be burned, while some timber will be sold or chipped for composting.